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Friday, 13 October 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Asian champ leads the way as Malaysia storm into semis

PETALING JAYA: Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao was in his element to lead Malaysia into the semi-finals of the mixed team event at the World Junior Championships.

Jun Hao upset reigning Bulgarian Open champion Lakshya Sen 21-13, 21-15 in 34 minutes in Yogjakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.

That saw Malaysia cruise to a sensational 3-0 win over India in the quarter-finals.

World No. 321 Jun Hao was pleased with his win against world No. 104 Lakshya.

“He is one of the top juniors but today I played well. I kept piling on the pressure and didn’t give him room to attack,” said Jun Hao.

Malaysia were the only team to finish their quarter-final tie with a 3-0 win.

Malaysia’s other points came from Ng Eng Cheong-Tan Sueh Jeou and Goh Jin Wei.

Eng Cheong-Sueh Jeou staved off a strong challenge in the opening game to beat Dhruv Kapila-Mithulu U.K. 21-18, 21-10 while Kuala Lumpur SEA Games champion Jin Wei hardly broke sweat in her 21-12, 21-12 win over Ashmita Chaliha.

Malaysia will take on South Korea in the semi-finals today.

South Korea slogged for a 3-2 win over surprise quarter-finalists France.

“Our team played well, especially Jun Hao and the mixed doubles pair,” said national coach Kwan Yoke Meng.

“On paper, our girls are stronger than their Indian opponents but today, Jun Hao defied the odds to upset their top player.

“Our goal is to reach the final and I’m confident we’ll achieve it. We lost to China in the final last year.

“Hopefully, we will finish better this time.”

Defending champions China dropped one match before beating Indonesia 3-1 to set up a semi-final clash against Japan.